Ivory Coast seeks South African expertise to preserve its biodiversity

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Ivory Coast seeks South African expertise to preserve its biodiversity © Ivory Coast's Ministry of Water and Forests

For four days, Laurent Tchagba, Ivory Coast's Minister of Water and Forests, held official talks and made technical visits to benefit from South African expertise as part of the project to restore the Anguédédou classified forest. This is one of the green lungs of the city of Abidjan, which will be given a facelift in the image of the natural areas favoured by Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Ivory Coast has embarked on vast projects to implement the 15th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG15), which focuses on protecting the country’s biodiversity. These include the restoration of the Anguédédou classified forest in the city of Abidjan. The project involves the construction of a fence “to prevent further infiltration”, reforestation activities and the installation of a zoo.

Before starting work, the Ivorian Minister for Water and Forests undertook a working mission to South Africa from 4 to 7 November 2023. The aim of the mission was to learn about South African expertise in preserving flora and fauna in natural areas. Laurent Tchagba met his counterpart Barbara Creecy and a number of experts, including Michael Wright, CEO of the Sustain Ecotourism and Envrionmental consultancy, which supports the development of natural areas, particularly in Cape Town.

Focus on nature protection

Together, the new partners agreed on the future preparation of the technical file, including a feasibility study and a financing plan for the Anguédédou site. Ivory Coast is seeking South Africa’s technical expertise because the rainbow nation is home to 858 species of birds and 299 species of mammals, which it is successfully promoting through ecotourism. According to one report, this sector attracted up to 11.7 million international visitors to South Africa in 2014 alone.

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Ivory Coast has lost 90% of its forest cover in the space of six decades. Closer cooperation between Cape Town and Yamoussoukro should also speed up the annual reforestation of 100,000 hectares of land announced in April 2023 by the Ivorian authorities. At a cost of 2 billion CFA francs (around €3 million), the project aims to draw up management plans and step up monitoring activities at at least 12 natural sites, including the Laléraba classified forest on the border with Burkina Faso.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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